When I attended the first induction day at Debenhams I was amazed by the army of staff all in uniform who were preparing for their first day working in the mass vaccination centre. This was truly on a much larger scale than the Civic Centre which was already providing a highly valued service.
I attended another induction day for vaccinators last Friday and once again was amazed at the number of new recruits. Anyone who was marshalling on that day will have witnessed a transformation of the upper floor. Desks had been installed for administrators and ICT support staff who were helping to process and inform the new recruits.
This is just a snapshot of the behind the scenes work which has enabled the first fifteen million jabs to be delivered as promised. What we seen in Debenhams is just a little part of the whole programme which is now planning for even greater capacity. Across the country similar induction and training events were taking place.
It is scarcely a year since the first death from Covid-19. Who could have envisaged then that one year later the entire population would be cautiously emerging from lockdown to be vaccinated against a virus which we had scarcely heard of. From identifying the virus to creating a vaccine, manufacturing it to scale and planning how it would be possible to have mass vaccination of the entire population of the UK; let alone of the world was an unbelievable task.
But the plan has worked and there is not one of us who is not humbled to be part of it. We have felt how much it means to be a volunteer; to be a useful part of our community again and we see what it means to all who are vaccinated.
It felt so unfair to be recognised in the way we were on Saturday on the radio. One feels like an imposter to be regarded as a hero just because we are privileged to stand at the front door and guide people to have the life-saving treatment designed and planned every step of the way by geniuses and experts who are the real heroes. We in Rotary are humbled by the opportunity to enable so many to be part of this historic national achievement.
On behalf of Derek Harris, Bill Flavell and Terry Cooke-Davies and myself, the organising team, thank you. We represent the two Folkestone Rotary clubs. Keep up the good work. You will be needed for a long time yet. We have been tested in our little contribution by extremes of weather but spring is coming with far greater promise than any spring in our lifetime.